Building Your Team: Agents and Managers

August 16, 2017 A DGA Director Development Initiative interactive lab in Los Angeles

DGA members looking for ways to improve and help themselves get ready for their next episodic job, gathered in the Guild’s Los Angeles Boardroom on August 16, for the DGA Director Development Initiative’s third interactive lab, Building Your Team: Agents and Managers. The event was designed to provide an opportunity for the participants to better understand the world of representation and help them establish new relationships for their futures.

Following a welcome by Frank Bennett Gonzalez, DGA Executive in Charge of Diversity Programs and Committees, the attendees learned more about the subject of the day via a panel discussion with Directors Michael Goi (American Horror Story), Jaffar Mahmood (Unbreakable Kimmy Schmidt) and Rosemary Rodriguez (The Good Wife); Agents Jonas Brooks (CAA), Toochis Morin Rose & Brant Rose (Brant Rose Agency); and manager Dana Jackson (Fineman Entertainment). In a conversation moderated by Director Mary Lou Belli (Pitch), the panelists covered subjects including the art of building a team and the importance of working with representation to further a creative career.

Following the discussion, the attendees broke into smaller groups where they were able to meet with agents and managers including Jairo Alvarado (Circle of Confusion), Sean Barclay (The Gersh Agency), Abe Cohen Hoffing, Jordan Cerfn and Ashley Holland (William Morris Endeavor Entertainment), Sean Freidin (ICM Partners), Jennifer Good and Michael Swidler (Paradigm Talent Agency), Vanessa Livingston (Rothman Brecher Ehrich Livingston), Jarrod Murray (Epicenter), Katt Riley (Kaplan Stahler Agency), and Greg Shepard (Writ-Large). The lab ended with a wrap up discussion and the attendees were free to engage in an informal network session.

You can watch video highlights from the discussion in the gallery below.
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Members can watch the full video from all of the
Director Development Initiative Speaker Series events by clicking here.


DDI Creating A Personal BrandDirector Mary Lou Belli (moderator)
Belli is an Emmy Award-winning director with more than 20 years of experience and has directed more than 150 episodes for such series as NCIS: New Orleans, Devious Maids and Hart of Dixie. She is also the co-author of three books: The NEW Sitcom Career Book, Acting for Young Actors and Directors Tell the Story, which she co-wrote with fellow DGA member Bethany Rooney. A DGA member since 1987, Belli currently serves as a co-chair of the DGA’s Women’s Steering Committee, an Alternate on the Western Directors Council and is a member of the DGA PAC Leadership Council.


DDI Creating A Personal BrandDirector Michael Goi
Goi’s directing credits include the feature films Voyeur and Megan is Missing; and episodes of the television series Sexy Urban Legends, Pretty Little Liars, and American Horror Story. He is also known as an acclaimed cinematographer with over 70 narrative credits and earned Emmy nominations for his cinematography work on Glee, American Horror Story and My Name Is Earl. A DGA member since 2014, Goi currently serves a co-chair of the DGA’s Asian American Committee.


DDI Creating A Personal BrandDirector Jaffar Mahmood
The success of Mahmood’s feature directorial debut, Shades of Ray, landed him a spot in the 2010-2012 Disney/ABC DGA Directing Program, the 2011 NBC Director Fellowship, and the 2013 Warner Bros. Directors’ Workshop. After shadowing half a dozen single camera comedies he finally booked his first network television directing gig, an episode of About a Boy. His other directing credits include Young Sheldon, Unbreakable Kimmy Schmidt, Brooklyn Nine Nine, The Real O’Neals, and Powerless. Mahmood has been a DGA member since 2015.


DDI Creating A Personal BrandDirector Rosemary Rodriguez
Rodriguez began her directorial career by writing and directing the Independent Spirit Award-nominated feature Acts of Worship. Her second feature, Silver Skies, won “Best Feature” at Manhattan Film Festival. Rodriguez’s episodic television work includes The Walking Dead, Jessica Jones, Sneaky Pete, Sex&Drugs&Rock&Roll, Empire, Hawthorne, Third Watch Law & Order: Special Victims Unit, Rescue Me, and 18 episodes of The Good Wife including the 100th. A DGA member since 2004, Rodriguez also serves as an alternate member of the DGA National Board.


DDI Creating A Personal BrandAgent Jonas Brooks
Brooks is a Scripted Television agent at Creative Artists Agency’s Los Angeles office where he represents many of the world’s leading production companies including Marvel Television, Blumhouse, Bad Robot, Black Label Media, Gaumont, Tribeca Productions, and Sonar Entertainment. A graduate of USC and Pepperdine University, Brooks began his career as a lawyer at Collins, Collins, Muir & Stewart and joined CAA in 2010.


DDI Creating A Personal BrandManager Dana Jackson
After graduating from NYU’s Tisch School of the Arts, Jackson worked at the William Morris Agency before a five-year stint as Director of Development at Castle Rock Entertainment. In 1997, she was named Senior V.P. of Hunt/Tavel Productions where she co-produced of Helen Hunt’s directorial debut, Then She Found Me. She also headed development for Freestyle Pictures, was chosen for Film Independent’s Producing Lab and Fast Track Program then founded R.E.D. Entertainment in 2004 before joining Fineman Entertainment in 2016.


DDI Creating A Personal BrandAgent Toochis Morin Rose
Morin Rose worked with Monty Python’s Eric Idle on the Broadway musicals Spamalot and The Rutles 2: Can’t Buy Me Lunch prior to joining Brant Rose Agency as an agent. She also worked in Business Affairs at Mandalay Pictures. Morin Rose studied Filmic Writing and Still Photography at USC School of Cinematic Arts and prior to film school, performed off-Broadway and worked in TV and film as an actor.


DDI Creating A Personal BrandAgent Brant Rose
As an agent who represents writers, directors and producers in television, film and new media, Rose has helped shape the careers of a number of DGA, Academy Award, Golden Globe, Emmy, WGA and Independent Spirit Award winners and nominees. He has served on the Sundance Producers Conference, the American Cinematheque board, and the I Have a Dream Foundation-LA. Prior to the entertainment business, Rose worked in brand management/marketing at Procter & Gamble after graduating Dartmouth College with a degree in Government.

About the Director Development Initiative:

The Director Development Initiative is designed to provide current information on the Director’s craft in order to further the Guild’s mission to increase the diversity of the industry. This lab featured veteran Directors and other industry professionals sharing their knowledge of how directors can shape their story by understanding personal branding, interpersonal communication skills, the importance of their online image, and professional marketing tools.

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